[Advaita-l] Question on time spent learning Sanskrit Grammar post-50 years old vs. Sadhana

Sanju Nath sanjivendra at gmail.com
Mon Mar 7 06:45:51 CST 2016

Namaste Sri Ryan-ji,

Thank you for the advice.  I will continue learning Sanskrit and remind myself often that this is "just" a tool to learn the truth, but the best tool out there. 

Thank you,

> On Mar 7, 2016, at 4:52 AM, Ryan Armstrong <ryanarm at gmail.com> wrote:
> Namaste Sanju Nath
> From experience, I have a few comments and observations.
> Firstly, (and since I have no Hindi I can only really comment on English) "lesser" languages cannot convey the essence of a subject in the same way that Sanskrit can.
> When approaching scriptures, Sanskrit provides a clear and unambiguous statement.
> Where it is not clear, the great sages have provided clarification.
> It is my opinion that Sanskrit is the purest vehicle for expressing Truth.
> I have a personal love for the Panini system of grammar and study it regularly.
> However, in studying a subject so fine, with its insights into the universe and its structure, it is easy for ahankara to claim the knowledge.
> It is easy for one to become "big headed", "holier than thou" or simply believe that one is in some way "better".
> And it seems that this is what Adi Shankara is warning against.
> The first verse of the work you quote is :
> भजगोविन्दं भजगोविन्दं
> गोविन्दं भजमूढमते ।
> सम्प्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले
> नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे ॥ १॥ 
> Worship the Lord, Worship the Lord, Worship the Lord - You of deluded mind!
> When death's fateful time approaches, the recitation of grammatical rules will not help you!
> I have taken to reciting this when I embark on the study of Sanskrit. 
> This serves as a reminder that the study is not an end in itself, but a tool for understanding Truth.
> There is a place for all things in creation.
> But claiming knowledge, no matter how fine, is nonetheless a claim and something tying one to avidya and samsAra
> I would not advocate against learning the grammar, but not as a direct means to Truth.
> I hope that this helps you...
> Kind Regards
> Ryan
>> On 7 March 2016 at 04:52, Sanju Nath via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Pranams:
>> Given the advice in BhajGovindam (reproduced below) how much time should we
>> prioritize for learning Sanskrit versus meditation/reading English
>> translations/Svadhayaya/other Sadhana?
>> In the time it takes to read grammar, one can use English/Hindi
>> translations to understand better some slokas too.   There is no dearth of
>> reflection and understanding opportunity here.
>> The fear is that I'm being a mudha when I choose to pickup a grammar book
>> in comparison to other options.
>> Thanks,
>> Sanju.
>> *************
>> During his stay in Kashi, Adi Shankaracharya noticed a very old man
>> studying the rules of Sanskrit by Panini.  Shankara was touched with
>> pity at seeing the plight of the old man spending his years at a mere
>> intellectual accomplishment while he would be better off praying and
>> spending time to control his mind.
>> मूढः कश्चन वैयाकरणो
>> डुकृञ्करणाध्ययन धुरिणः ।
>> श्रीमच्छम्कर भगवच्छिष्यै
>> बोधित आसिच्छोधितकरणः ॥ ३२॥
>> Thus a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow
>> vision and shown the Light by Shankara's apostles.
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> -- 
> Regards
> Ryan Armstrong
> +27 82 852 7787
> ryanarm at gmail.com

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